Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Job Hunting in 2009

People make all kinds of New Year's resolutions. One of the most popular ones is to find a new job during the year. While some people will be looking for a new job because they've outgrown their current job/no job growth or because of any variety of negative isses at work, others will be hunting for a job because many companies are struggling to keep their doors open and their workers employed. The result will be more terminations and lay-offs in 2009.

Regardless of the reason for job hunting, here are some things to keep in mind:

--Update your resume. Make sure you are capturing all of your marketable skills on your resume. Show yourself as a well-rounded employee with the ability to multi-task and to bring an array of job skills to the table.

--Don't lie on your resume about your title, job skills, and/or your level of responsibility. References are checked these days. Chances are extremely high that your lies will come to light. The only way you could possibly get away with fudging your job duties is if your employer only confirms your dates of employment and job title on employment references. I worked for an employer, who did just that. They absolutely would not reveal one detail about duties, attendance, personality, professionalism, etc. Still, it's best to tell the truth. You will likely be revealed as a fake, if you get hired and can't do what you said you could do. It's so not worth it!

--Don't lie about your education. This will also be checked, since so many people--of all races--have fake degrees and/or simply lie about degrees, certifications, etc.

--Go back to school. If you feel pretty much unemployable, enhance your education to make yourself more marketable. Look at a field that won't likely be impacted by layoffs to increase your chances. For instance, right after the stock market crumbled, accounting and investment majors were stressed--and continue to be stressed out--about employment opportunities in the near-term. Of course, they didn't know the market would collapse, when they chose a major. But, they now also don't know what Wall Street will be like for years, as far as job opportunities and the money that can be made. Look at the field you're going in and make sure it's something that you can count on being around and thriving. Ask about the viability of the company on job interviews and do independent research to see if the company may be considering layoffs in the next few years.

--Don't submit any resumes without editing your Facebook and/or Myspace pages. Many employers are checking to see if applicants have these accounts and they're looking at what you've put on these sites to make a decision about hiring you. So, get rid of hardcore profanity, semi-pornographic photos of yourself, sex chatter, etc. prior to completing applications and submitting resumes. Don't set yourself up for failure.

--Use online resources to job hunt, such as job search engines (Monster, Hotjobs, Snag-a-job (part-time), etc.), as well as sites like LinkedIn.

--Be careful about using sites like CraigsList because there are some scammers out there, who prey on people to try to get their personal information. Keep your antenna up!

--Don't worry about being accused of nepotism. If you've got friends or family--or even a friend of a friend--who can hook you up with a job, go for it. Let people flap their jaws about how you got your job. The point is...you got the job.

--Related to nepotism, really use that in-house referral. Make sure your connection on the inside spreads the word that you are looking for employment with their boss, HR, etc. Make sure that your connection gets your resume and passes it along for you. That is better than submitting your resume cold, along with dozens or hundreds of other applicants. It's fine to submit a cover letter saying that so-and-so is referring you for a job, but it's even better for "so-and-so" to submit your CV on your behalf.

--Be professional on job interviews. Dress and conduct yourself accordingly.

--Don't bad mouth your former employers. Don't complain about being railroaded, marginalized, etc. A potential employer doesn't want to bring on someone, who will potentially speak about them in those terms.

--Show up on time. Have another copy of your resume with you. Confirm the address and get directions (at the very least the day before an interview).

--Adapt your skills to the company you're applying at. Show how you will fit in. Be ready to have examples that relate to the work you would be doing for this employer.

--Be positive. Smile. Make eye contact, but not too much (potential cultural issues). Don't fidget.

--Don't gesticulate too much because some people are not fans of continuous arm movements and read negatively into that behavior.

--Be honest about your salary requirements. Decide--in advance--if you are flexible with the salary you require. If not, stand your ground and justify your salary requirements based on your education, experience, the market, etc.

--Be ready for the question, "Do you have any questions for me (us)?"

--Be ready for the statement, "Tell me about yourself."

Of course, your resume should have been proofed and shouldn't contain typos, etc.

Okay, time for me to get ready for work, so that's it for today.

Good Luck on your job hunt in 2009!

Anymore job tips? Post a comment.


Blogger The Christian Man said...

I appreciate all the help! The job search is rougher than ever, so every little bit helps.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladies, no earrings larger than a nickel and only ONE set of earrings.

Gents, pull your pants onto your hips. Have a fade or a nice haircut close to your head, neat, and no artwork. Gents, remove your earrings.

All: Upgrade your diction. No, "deese", "dats" or "doze." Enunciate. Be clear. No, "you -know-what-I'm-sayin's."

Prof. Black Men: You won't have the above problems, but do remember, it aint sellin' out to smile. It's okay to wear a traditional suit saving the mack-styles for after hours.

3:38 PM  

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